Back at the end of February, we noted that India based game developer Gameshastra was bringing titles over to the west, more specifically that it was publishing the exceptionally ethnocentric title Desi Adda here in Europe. In addition, Gameshastra have been hard at work, churning out titles as part of the minis range, promising both PSP and PS3 owners fun little bite sized gaming experiences.
One of these titles is Deflector, a laser based puzzler, with the object of the game being to guide a beam of light from its origins, to a receptor, avoiding buildings, trees, nuclear waste and other unfortunately placed objects. To aid you in your quest a mad looking scientist who can seemingly ‘ride’ these laser beams has the ability to set down a number of mirrors to avert a catastrophe that, surely, was just waiting to happen.
Things can get pretty interesting, and rather challenging, when the game asks you to use prisms that split this light into separate spectral components, utilising beam triggered switches and sections that require the player to think several moves ahead to avoid the aforementioned debris scattered across the chequerboard play field. Deflector’s difficulty amps up fairly quickly though, so be prepared to tax your brain from the get-go. It’s all very fun, all very competent, all very rewarding when you solve the spatial riddles within.
It’s a shame then that the presentation is so poor it verges on carelessly sloppy. There’s none of the eastern inspired design that made Desi Adda so appealing, the animation is literally non-existent, controls are stiff at best, the artistic direction is laughably generic and even the text within menus is incorrectly aligned so as to give the impression that no care has been furnished upon how the title looks. It’s as if the art team simply took the game’s production period off, leaving some pretty talented programmers to crowbar in Clip art from Word ’97 to go along with their admittedly robust engine. It’s a crime of banality to the eyes on every level (there are mobile phone games half a decade old that look ten times better than this) and while there is a 100MB space limit for the minis series, it’s simply ridiculous how much more they could have done with the space available. Luckily for Deflector this doesn’t affect the actual gameplay itself too significantly, but it may well be enough to put off a potential consumer from taking a chance on this unknown publisher’s offering.
A tight puzzle experience, what this game severely lacks in the visuals department, is somewhat made up by a mechanically well made puzzle title that will easily wile away the time in short bursts. Gameshastra clearly understand how to make a solid game, but have some way to go before they know how to make a complete product, and as soon as the ‘artists’ that helped mar this title are fired for gross incompetence, we could be looking at a very promising casual dev studio indeed!
MLG Rating: 6/10
Platform: PSP / PS3 Release Date: 14/01/2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Deflector for review purposes by the publisher. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PSP 2000. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.